I love the fall, and I love the holiday season, but what the hell were my husband and I thinking having not one, but TWO children born in the middle of November?! Our oldest was actually born ON Thanksgiving. (Yeah, no turkey for this mama that year!) And then, just because we thought it would be fun, somehow Number Two arrived just five days before Number One’s second birthday.
Needless to say, with trick-or-treating, birthdays and Christmas practically back-to-back, our children seem to think this time of year is all about them. Tantrums are often so predictable, we can just about set our watches that the week prior to their birthdays we are pulling out all stops just to keep them civil, including multiple threats to cancel their parties. And basically, come December 26, my husband and I are ready for “a long winter’s nap!”
After Number Two’s second birthday we knew there was no way we could survive throwing two birthday parties the same week for the next lifetime, so we made the even worse decision to combine their celebrations into one, huge, over-done bash. Getting them to agree on a theme, much less a venue is like pulling teeth, so in addition to inviting two sets of friends (usually families with the unfortunate coincidence of siblings the same age), we also combine themes. “Shark and mermaid,” “princess and art,” and “ballet and rock music” are some of the previous years’ fusions.
But in case one huge, over-priced birthday celebration with cake, friends, and presents wasn’t enough, we thought we should stroke their little egos a bit more and recognize each of their own special days. That way, they wouldn’t have to share EVERYTHING. (I know; parents of the year, right?) We allow each of them to pick their favorite restaurant, and have a special celebration with just family (and MORE GIFTS) on that day. Then, five days later (usually with the aforementioned, ridiculously over-done party in between) the other gets to have her special restaurant dinner (and more said gifts).
Then, not one week later, we’re schlepping into the forest to get a tree, hanging stockings, joining the mass shopping frenzy, and manipulating our tots to be good by pushing Elf on the Shelf, or threatening Santa’s naughty list. All the while, the world is encouraging more consumerism in our tiny tyrants as they are bombarded with every new toy ad on TV, in the mail, and from friends at school. Soon, the birthday presents they received just a few days prior are completely forgotten and they are demanding even more stuff.
Of course, since we have two sides of the family to celebrate Christmas with and both sets of parents are divorced, we have FOUR separate occasions in December to foster further greed and selfishness. So, it probably goes without saying that the week before December 25th is crazy for our family. Early Christmas gatherings, out-of-state travel, sleep deprivation and sugar-induced tirades are just a few of the usual highlights.
Somewhere amidst all this chaos we try to attend a Christmas Eve service at church, read the nativity story, and talk about the less fortunate. Does it have much impact? Probably not. Are there better ways to handle the insanity that takes over our lives in November and December? I’m certain of it.
But thank the Lord, the morning of December 26th always dawns, we begin our detox, and our lives go on normally for another year.
And that is why our third child was born in the month of March!